Great Public Schools Criteria for WashingtonGreat Public Schools Criteria refers to the seven elements needed for closing the achievement gaps and raising achievement for all students. The seven elements are: (1) readiness to learn, (2) high expectations, (3) quality conditions, (4) qualified staff, (5) accountability, (6) parental involvement, and (7) funding.
Read more below about the Great Public Schools Criteria in Washington.
Readiness to Learn
- State Policy: A definition of the minimum number of hours for full-day kindergarten is not specified in Washington state statutes. Districts are not required to offer full-day kindergarten and children are not required to attend. Washington distributes funding to districts based on a teacher:student ratios.
- Definition, District Offering and Pupil Attendance: Washington defines kindergarten as 450 hours per year.
(Education Commission of the States [ECS] Kindergarten Database, 2007)
Class Size. Legal Basis: WASH. REV. CODE ANN. § 28A.505.210. Enacted 2000.
For the state of Washington, the long-term goal is for class sizes to be reduced to no more than 18 students per teacher in grades K-4. In 2000, voters approved Initiative 728, which became effective in 2001. Districts receive funding for the purpose of achieving higher academic standards through smaller class sizes.
Current Average Elementary School Class Size: 23.9
Washington does not reward nor sanction districts or schools on the basis of performance.
What are the characteristics of effective schools endorsed by the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction? High performing schools tend to show evidence of the following nine characteristics:
- Clear and Shared Vision and Process
Everybody knows where they are going and why. That vision is shared-everybody is involved. The vision is developed from common beliefs and values, creating a consistency of purpose.
- High Standards and Expectations
Teachers and staff believe that all students can learn and that they can teach all students. There is recognition of barriers for some students to overcome, but the barriers are not insurmountable. Students become engaged in an ambitious and rigorous course of study.
- Effective School Leadership
Effective leadership is required to implement change processes within the school. This leadership takes on many forms. Principals often play this role, but so do teachers and other staff, including those in the district office. Effective leaders advocate, nurture, and sustain a school culture and instructional program conducive to student learning and staff professional growth.
- High Levels of Collaboration and Communication
There is constant collaboration and communication between and among teachers of all grades. Everybody is involved and connected, including parents and members of the community, to solve problems and create solutions.
- Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment Aligned with the Standards
Curriculum is aligned with the Essential Academic Learning Requirements (EALRs). Research-based materials and teaching and learning strategies are implemented. There is a clear understanding of the assessment system, what is measured in various assessments and how it is measured.
- Frequent Monitoring of Teaching and Learning
Teaching and learning are continually adjusted abased on frequent monitoring of student progress and needs. A variety of assessment procedures are used. The results of the assessment are used to improve student performances and also to improve the instructional program.
- Focused Professional Development
Professional development for all educators is aligned with the school’s and district’s common focus, objectives, and high expectations. It is ongoing and abased on high need areas.
- Supportive Learning Environment
The school has a safe, civil, healthy, and intellectually stimulating learning environment. Students feel respected and connected with the staff, and are engaged in learning. Instruction is personalized and small learning environments increase student contact with teachers.
- High Level of Community and Parent Involvement
There is a sense that all educational stakeholders have a responsibility to educate students, not just the teachers and staff in schools. Parents, as well as businesses, social service agencies, and community colleges/universities all play a vital role in this effort.